16th Century Portraits of the Doges of Venice: A Comparison of Venetian and Florentine Portraiture

As Chief Magistrate of the Most Serene Republic of Venice, the Doge has held a lofty position of power that is represented throughout Venetian portraiture of the 16th century. With a blend of striking realism and monarchic pomp, these portraits convey the richness and authority of the highest elected leader of Venice and present a style of portraiture which is truly Venetian. Following the standard of Florentine portraiture of nobility such as the Medici family,16th century Venetian portraiture of the Doges evokes this grandeur and stateliness. Though different, the Florentine portraits of nobility and the Venetian portraits of the Doges both clearly articulate the prestige and commanding presence of these men of power. From robes of ermine and red brocade as distinguished in portraits such as Titian’s Portrait of Doge Andrea Gritti (1540) compared with the militaristic majesty in Bronzino’s Portrait of Cosimo I de’ Medici (1545), these Venetian and Florentine portraits emphasize the achievements of these influential men. 


Katie Frazier